Upcoming Norris Center Events 

 Stay tuned!



PAST EVENTS from 2023


Norris Center Art and Research Symposium. Saturday Feb 25th at the Arboretum. We had student presentations, displays, a guest talk by Dr. Winifred Frick and an art workshop!

Guest speaker: Dr. Winifred Frick Title: Discovering a lost bat species in Africa: How natural history and collaborative science are saving Hill’s horseshoe bat in Rwanda Description: The story of the re-discovery of Hill’s horseshoe bat in Nyungwe National Park in Rwanda showcases the importance of collaborative conservation and the formative role of natural history to inform effective conservation efforts. 


Norris Center Student Open House, Thursday February 23rd, Guest Speakers from NSF NEON. Norris Center Open House





PAST EVENTS from 2022

November 2, 2022 starting at 3pm, Day of the Dead: Honoring Our Scientific Ancestors Celebrate with friends, snacks, and activities. We will then walk down to the Quarry to join El Centro's main Day of the Dead event.  Join us as we learn about various scientists, naturalists and elders. Such as Rachel Carson, George Washington Carver, Fabian Garcia, Ken Norris, Randell Morgan, and others. We will also have snacks, and activities such as Papel Picado and paper flowering building, among other activities.


November 4, 2022, Art show opening- Visualizing the the Origins of Life on the Early Earth. Art and Science merge to help visualize the birth of eukaryotic cells and the origin of life on the early Earth. A collaborative project between artist Shoshanah Dubiner and scientist Dave Deamer.  

May 28, 2022 10am-1pm Pocket-Sized Landscapes in Watercolor. 
Join us at UCSC and learn how to paint miniature landscapes from life in this morning workshop from 10am-1pm outside the ARC Center near the McHenry Library at UCSC. We’ll practice techniques for distilling the landscape down to its essential components and learn how to compose a scene with UCSC’s tree lined meadows for inspiration. We’ll cover brush handling, color mixing and various watercolor techniques so you’ll have the tools you need for painting landscapes on the go. This quick and loose practice is great for hiking, traveling, journaling, and recording the landscape when you don’t have a lot of time. The pocket landscapes can serve as inspiration for larger paintings back home and often are beautiful little gems on their own. All art supplies provided. No experience required. 

Instructor: Erika Perloff www.erikaperloff.com
Cost: $20 for current UCSC students and $60 for all other community members. 

June 3-5, 2022 50 Years of Wonder weekend celebration gathering
This is the fourth and final event celebrating 50 years of natural history education and research here at UCSC. Join us and the greater UCSC natural history community for a fun, inspirational weekend of seeing old friends, networking with new ones, learning and sharing our skills as naturalists, and celebrating as a community (live music, dancing, and more!)


Norris Center Natural History Symposium at the UCSC Arboretum- March 6th

Join us in-person at the UCSC Arboretum on Sunday March 6 from 1-5pm. Come to mingle with our current cohort of undergraduate students, hear several short talks from students working on a diversity of different natural history-related projects, explore the life at the arboretum on your choice of guided tours, and participate in a keynote presentation and follow-up discussion led by new Environmental Studies faculty member Dr. Natalia Ocampo-Penuela. Light snacks will be provided. Please register in advance as we can only accommodate a limited number at this event. Please come expecting to follow current campus COVID protocols.

The title of Dr. Natalia Ocampo-Penuela talk is "The invisible naturalist: Mrs. Elizabeth Kerr". In the talk Dr. Natalia Ocampo-Penuela will explore the "Natural history expeditions in the 20th century were mostly led and carried out by men, and it was a huge surprise when our expedition team discovered a woman collector who worked in Colombia in the 1900s. Her name was Mrs. Elizabeth Kerr and most of her legacy to natural history remained unknown and unrecognized. I will tell the story of how we found Mrs. Kerr, what her legacy means for Colombian science, and how she served as a role model and inspiration for a modern all-female bird expedition in Colombia, the country with the highest bird diversity globally. A tale of old and modern expeditioners through the lens of a field female ecologist"

Event Flyer



Career panel discussion- Thursday April 21 during UCSC Alumni Week, from 4:30-5:30

How does a passion for natural history translate into a career? Join the conversation April 21 from 4:30-5:30 with fellow alumni who are working in various natural history-related fields. This hour is for folks at any career stage - whether you're just starting out and seeking advice, curious about potential next steps, or reaching retirement and wondering how to pay it forward. We'll feature a panel of alumni and follow it up with breakout rooms. Bring your burning questions and your experiences to share!

Register here for this online event!


 Featured Alumini

Jodi McGraw is the Principal of Jodi McGraw Consulting—a small, woman-owned firm that assists private and public clients with projects primarily designed to protect rare and endangered species and conserve biodiversity. Although her firm’s projects occur throughout Central Coastal California, Jodi specializes in projects to protect the Santa Cruz Sandhills—a unique community found only in Santa Cruz County. Jodi received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Environmental Studies from Rachel Carson College in 1995, and her Doctorate in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley in 2004.Contact: jodi@jodimcgrawconsulting.com


Eric Medina-Can is a first-generation college graduate from UC Santa Cruz with a BS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a BA in Latin American Latino Studies. After graduating in 2019 Eric completed a post-baccalaureate program at Yale University studying bacteriophage and has worked for several non-profits helping coordinate food distributions and bridging spanish speaking families to legal and financial resources. Most recently he has returned to Santa Cruz to work as the Restoration and Education Steward of Younger Lagoon Reserve where he works in the field alongside students and community members.
Contact: eimedina@ucsc.edu



Emily Cobar is the Community Program Manager at Los Angeles Audubon Society, a nonprofit organization that focuses on wildlife conservation through research, education, recreation, and habitat restoration. Emily leads many environmental education programs for varying audiences from inner-city elementary school students to high school students to community college students. She enjoys teaching about the natural history of Los Angeles, including topics such as water conservation, plant communities, urban wildlife, geology, and more.
Contact: emilycobar@gmail.com



Susan Mobnheit has recently retired from a 30 year career in the environmental field which included experience in both public and private sector work. Areas of experience/expertise include: Water quality, contaminated soils, Ecological and Human Health Risk Assessments, environmental toxicology, regulatory compliance, hydropower relicensing, salmonid habitat restoration, endangered species conservation, and environmental contamination cleanup. She has worked for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, ChemRisk, Levine-Fricke, California Department of Food and Agriculture, State Water Resources Control Board, and the US Geological Survey. Susan is now involved in creating a sustainable, off-grid, permaculture, Ayurvedic, Eco-retreat center on an island in Bocas, Panama. She is interested in mentoring young and upcoming environmental students to take the reins and guide stewardship of our planet.
Contact: smonheit74@gmail.com


aldo-lopez.pngAldo Lopez is the Land Programs Coordinator with the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County. Born and raised in Oxnard, CA, Aldo’s love for the outdoors began with time spent at Lake Cachuma and Gaviota Beach. With a Master’s degree from the University of San Francisco in Environmental Management and a concentration in ecology, Aldo worked throughout California gaining restoration and forestry experience, most recently for Watsonville Wetlands Watch. Aldo engages a more diverse community in Santa Barbara County’s amazing and biodiverse ecosystems. When Aldo isn’t working on restoration projects or program development, he is taking long road trips to National and State parks, hiking with his dogs, and enjoying concerts and football games. Contact: alopez9272@gmail.com